I love and hate spring simultaneously. Each year I look forward to winter’s thaw turning into a bevy of beautiful blooms but the pollen from trees and flowers is horrendous for allergy sufferers such as myself. It’s fitting that the Asthma and Allergy Foundation of America (AAFA) has declared May to be Allergy & Asthma Awareness Month since it’s the peak season for allergies.
Disclosure: As a family afflicted by seasonal allergies, I’m happy to be involved in the Sharp PCI Air Purifier Room to Breathe campaign that has provided compensation for my time and as part of my involvement. Amazon affiliate links are included in this post.
Growing up in California, I never had allergies before moving to the DC Metro Area. While Washington, D.C. isn’t listed among the top 2013 Spring Allergy Capitals as a challenging place to live with allergies during the spring (DC is #66 out of 100), my symptoms start are triggered as soon as the new green leaves start to emerge on bare trees and last while I enjoy the spring blooms.
How do you know if you suffer from allergies? Allergies can occur throughout the year and symptoms often include a runny nose with clear discharge, stuffy nose, violent sneezing, wheezing, coughing, and eyes that are watery and/or itchy. Symptoms last as long as you’re exposed to the allergen. According to the AAFA, “There is no cure for allergies, but there are prescription and over-the-counter medications treat allergy symptoms.” Sometimes allergies can be mistaken for the flu but this helpful chart can help determine the true cause of your symptoms.
According to the AAFA, allergy and asthma control begins at home. Many people with allergies stay indoors when outdoor air is full of pollen and spores but dust mites, animal dander, and cockroaches (!) can cause flare-ups from inside the home. AAFA encourages allergy sufferers to control the air quality in your home, office, and car to reduce allergy and asthma symptoms. The following six tips can often help improve indoor air quality to reduce allergies.
Remove sources of allergens that trigger allergy symptoms. Pets, carpets, overstuffed furniture, stuffed toys, bedding, and non-encased mattresses and pillows are the culprits of allergens. By reducing the number of stuffed animals in the home, aggressively cleaning bedding by washing it in hot water, and encasing mattresses and pillows in anti-allergen protectors helps to reduce indoor allergens caused by dust mites.
Stop dusting. Isn’t it great to have an excuse to clean less? Believe it or not, dusting often disturbs surface allergens. Lisa Frame of A Daily Pinch decided to quit dusting one day and that has helped immensely with her son’s allergies. Even though dust bunnies wage war under the sofa, her son has gradually adjusted to the dust laying around the house.
Use an air filter. Throughout the year we run a central air filter in our home and change the filters regularly. Every time we change the filter I’m totally and completely grossed out at what it has caught from the air we’re breathing. Portable air filters such as the Sharp KC-860 U Plasmacluster Air Purifier features a true HEPA filter to trap allergens and dust while the internal generator kills bacteria, microbes, and germs. It runs quietly to purify rooms that are up to 341 square feet and won’t cost a lot to run thanks to the Energy Star rating.
Throw away the humidifier. Humid environments provide a rich breeding ground for dust mite and mold. Instead, run the air conditioner that removes moisture from the air.
Prevent pollen from entering your home. Keep doors and windows closed, remove your shoes at the door, and shower at night to rinse off any pollen that is on your hair that can be transferred to your pillow and bed linens.
Become friends with your HEPA vacuum and use it at least once a week. The AAFA says that while vacuuming doesn’t get rid of dust mites that are deep in carpets and mattresses and also has a tendency to stir up dust, it’s still helpful in getting rid of allergens.
If you or your family members are suffering from allergy symptoms described above and are looking for ways to combat allergy and asthma attacks, join me for the #RoomToBreathe #gno Twitter party hosted by Mom it Forward and sponsored by Sharp PCI on May 14, 2013 from 9:00 – 10:00pm EST. You can also visit SharpAirUSA’s Facebook Page or follow them on Twitter @SharpAirUSA for additional tips and stories.